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Out of work : the first century of unemployment in Massachusetts

Author: Alexander Keyssar
Publisher: Cambridge [Cambridgeshire] ; New York : Cambridge University Press, 1986.
Series: Interdisciplinary perspectives on modern history.
Edition/Format:   Print book : EnglishView all editions and formats
Summary:
Out of Work, the first book to chronicle the history of unemployment in the United States traces the evolution of the problem of joblessness from the early decades of the nineteenth century to the Great Depression of the 1930s. Challenging the widely held notion that the United States was a labour-scarce society in which jobs were plentiful, it argues that unemployment played a major role in American history long  Read more...
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Genre/Form: History
Material Type: Internet resource
Document Type: Book, Internet Resource
All Authors / Contributors: Alexander Keyssar
ISBN: 0521230160 9780521230162 0521297672 9780521297677
OCLC Number: 12555862
Description: xviii, 469 pages : illustrations ; 23 cm.
Contents: The social origins of unemployment --
The era of uncertainty --
Sharing the burden --
From place to place --
Coping --
Organizing labor --
From the Common to the State House --
'The greatest evil of our competitive industrial system' --
Epilogue.
Series Title: Interdisciplinary perspectives on modern history.
Responsibility: Alexander Keyssar.
More information:

Abstract:

Out of Work, the first book to chronicle the history of unemployment in the United States traces the evolution of the problem of joblessness from the early decades of the nineteenth century to the Great Depression of the 1930s. Challenging the widely held notion that the United States was a labour-scarce society in which jobs were plentiful, it argues that unemployment played a major role in American history long before the crash of the stock market in 1929. Focusing on the state of Massachusetts, Professor Kevssar analyses the economic and social changes that gave birth to the modern concept of unemployment. Drawing on previously untapped sources - including richly detailed statistics and vivid verbatim testimony - he demonstrates that joblessness was a pervasive feature of working-class life from the 1870s to the 1920s. The book describes the ingenious, yet personally costly, strategies that unemployed workers devised to cope with the joblessness in the absence of formal governmental assistance. It also explores the many dimensions of working-class life that were profoundly affected by recurrent lay-offs and the chronic uncertainty of work. Finally, it demonstrates that the fundamental contours of the Massachusetts experience were repeated, sooner or later, throughout the United States.

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